Isaiah 6 begins with a recounting of Isaiah’s vision. It was clearly an overwhelming experience for Isaiah. He sees God in a vision of splendor and wonder. He sees seraphs flying around and singing. The vision is so overwhelming that Isaiah immediately recognizes his own insignificance and does not feel worthy of the honor of experiencing God in this way. It may be difficult for us to understand what Isaiah means. It may be a little like meeting a favorite celebrity, like the awe and delight I felt when I met Julie Andrews at a local bookstore for a signing.
Of course, Isaiah’s experience of God is of a different magnitude altogether. Isaiah is not a fan seeing a hero in real life. Isaiah comes face-to-face with the overwhelming awareness of God—up close and personal. In that moment, Isaiah recognizes his own insignificance in the grand scheme of things. It is as if Isaiah fears he will shrink away to nothing with the realization that his place in the universe is not as important as he may have thought. Some folks have a similar reaction when standing on the prairie or being in the middle of the ocean—they have a sense of being overwhelmed by the vastness of the universe and feel insignificant.
And yet . . .
God’s grace lifts Isaiah from insignificance to usefulness. This passage ends with God’s call for someone to help and Isaiah volunteering. When standing in the middle of the flat prairie, one may feel insignificant. And yet on the prairie, anything that is upright can be seen from great distances—paradoxically both insignificant and significant. So it is with Isaiah. So may it be with us.
Holy One, we are in awe of you. Keep us humble enough to know our insignificance. Keep us confident enough to know that we may make a significant difference. Amen.
This Sunday we will celebrate the Trinity, the Christian belief that God is one being and exists in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian theologians point out that there are many references to this doctrine in the Bible. In Isaiah, the voice of the Lord asks, “Who will go for us?” not, “Who will go for me?” In Romans, Paul speaks of all three persons of the Trinity: We pray to the Father through the Spirit because of the work of the Son. Jesus also speaks to Nicodemus about the role of all three persons of the Trinity. This may not be the simplest of Christian doctrines, but it is foundational because it explains the nature of God and God’s work throughout human history.
Read Isaiah 6:1-8. Can you recall a time when you said to God, “Here I am; send me”? What prompted you? What helped you feel empowered to serve?
Read Psalm 29. As you read about the power of the Lord’s voice, do you find yourself frightened or drawn in? How approachable is God to you?
Read Romans 8:12-17. When has fear controlled you? How does being led by God’s Spirit free you from fear?
Read John 3:1-17. How has your life been reshaped by the Spirit? How did sins and failings manifest in the new creation?
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